Eyes for Gertrude are pop-folk -country duo Chantelle Pike and Hannah Dean. Having met at Dartington College of Arts in 2009 on a songwriting course it is surprising that Eyes for Gertrude are only now launching their debut album 'Residential Bliss' as they have played in London and the South West for some years and have appeared on the festival circuit in recent years. They clearly have much local support with sell out album launch concerts in Bristol and tonight, in Fordingbridge.
For this performance, Chantelle and Hannah are joined on stage by local guitarist Christian Spreadbury, bassist Chris Pedley and drummer Tom Horrell. With carefully executed sound by Chris Webster of aml group the stage was set to celebrate the release of 'Residential Bliss' into the wild.
What makes this pair of musicians so compatible is the difference between them. Chantelle's voice is full bodied and warm whilst Hannah's is breathy and light; the contrasting timbres of the two voices weave and overlap as the listener remains poised to capture every lyric.
The songs on 'Residential Bliss' which were performed tonight deal with an array of relatable topics from the dreary monotony of life ('Rag and Bone', 'Wings') to finding beauty in life ('Heaven'). Each song is treated with fun and a cheery acceptance of those facts of life which seem beyond our control. Eyes for Gertrude find the humour in the mundane and use it to help us poke fun at ourselves.
The evening did not pass without a few surprises. In addition to material from Eyes for Gertrude's debut album the band performed a new song 'Save Me' and cover versions of Harry Neilson's 'Gotta Get Up', Hall and Oates's 'I Can't Go For That' and 'Echo Beach' by Martha and the Muffins perhaps touching upon some of the duo's musical influences. The first half ended with 'Pat Butcher' a song surprisingly omitted from the album and a clear favourite with the audience. With a growing list of live dates the reader will need to catch up with Eyes for Gertrude in person to hear this earworm.
Songwriting brought these two musicians together and it is where the duo demonstrates its creative prowess. Brimming with enticing hooks, engaging rhythms and intriguing lyrics, this is pithy social commentary at its best.
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